Ah St. Paddy’s. A time to celebrate the most proud of traditions: the shameless permission to get drunk at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
If you’re the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee though, it’s also apparently the time of year to lord over some of that sweet, sweet religious superiority.
From local station KMBC’s copy of a statement given to them:
Kansas City’s parade celebrates the Feast Day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and the Christian teachings and beliefs that he lived and suffered for,” the statement said. “The Atheist Coalition’s published mission is to advance godlessness through activism, and its stated intent regarding the 2013 parade was to carry banners with phrases such as “positively godless” and “morals without mythology.” It was with respect for the legacy of St. Patrick that the parade committee turned down the Atheist Coalition’s application to participate in this year’s procession.
One of the biggest St. Patrick’s parades in the country (Top-50), the perfectly legal if douchey snub comes as no surprise. According to the press release sent out by the KC Atheists, they were told in the original email by parade organizers, “We are an Irish Catholic Parade.” What then also shouldn’t come as a surprise is the previous inclusion of prominently Catholic organizations like Bob Hamilton Plumbing and Pepsi Beverage in last year’s parade. (Bob’s having a great time at the papal conclave, FYI.)
Luckily the parade has also been very forward about its strict ‘Catholics Only’ policy online, its website sternly warning that parade events are “open to all, Irish or not, Catholic or not.” And for the final kick in the pants, the committee calls itself a nonprofit with no specific religious affiliations tied to it. The KC Atheists, run by Sarah Hargreaves, have predictably been none-too-pleased with their response and are currently trying to appeal to community leaders to change the committee’s mind.
Of course the moral of the story here is that when it comes to a tradition that’s become so entirely removed from its religious connotations in the USA, and if anything is now a jovial celebration of community, it still never hurts to pay lip service. Even if most people think St. Patrick is that short guy on the Lucky Charms box.